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Loneliness impacts the well-being of cancer survivors 


Healthy relationships are important for good physical and mental health.

photo of young man, sad,  looking out the window

School, work, and relationships after cancer treatment can be hard. Sometimes survivors feel like they don’t fit in. This can lead to loneliness and feeling disconnected. Scientists looked at loneliness in 9,664 survivors of childhood cancer and their siblings.

The study showed that survivors have more loneliness, which has important effects on their emotional and physical health. Feeling lonely was linked to anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Loneliness can also lead to worse overall health and risky behaviors like heavy drinking and smoking.

What does this mean for you?

If you feel lonely, afraid, or depressed, you should take action:

  • Watch for signs of anxiety and depression that don’t go away. These can be changes in sleep, appetite, motivation or mood.
  • Avoid heavy drinking and smoking.
  • Talk to your health care provider about your feelings and any emotional problems you might have.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor, a mental health provider, or a pastoral counselor for help. They can connect you with resources in your area.

Remember, your health care team is there to help you. 


Papini C, Fayad AA, Wang M, Schulte FSM, Huang I, Chang Y, Howel RM, Srivastava D, Leisenring WM, Armstrong GT, Gibson TM, Robinson LL, Oeffinger KC, Krull KR. Emotional, behavioral, and physical health consequences of loneliness in young adult survivors of childhood cancer: results from the Childhood Cancer Survivor Study. Cancer. 2023; 129(7): 1117-1128. 

Read the paper